Can I keep Guinea Fowl?

Are you allowed to keep guinea fowl?

The chances are if you live in an urban or town environment you will not be allowed to keep guinea fowl. If you are you may be limited to no males and a small number of birds. Guinea fowl are a demanding species that require resources and time.
Guineas are demanding
It is also a good idea to check with bordering houses to see if they object to them.


The law and Guinea Fowl:

This is more interesting than it may first appear. Most people I know keep their birds free range and this is technically illegal in many parts of the world.

As guineas are an introduced species they must be pinioned by law to be allowed to free range. This is definitely the case in the UK and most of Europe as well as parts of the US.

It is also almost completely ignored.

You can keep them confined in a coop and run with no problems at all.

You could be fined for letting them escape into the wild.

There are sometimes restrictions on how close they can be to your boundaries.

In parts of the world like Australia (up to between 6 and 15 depending on where you are) you may need a permit and in the UK having 50 or more laying hens means you need to inform DEFRA.

You are responsible for the damage they do:

If your guineas damage another's property you are liable for the costs.

In my case it cost me a hive of bees when they discovered a neighbours honey enterprise and hoovered the bees up as they came out to collect nectar.

Your neighbours might have something to say about it. Guinea fowl noises are loud and they do like to make nuisance of themselves for no apparent reason. Whilst they are not destructive diggers like chickens they do make a mess and a communal dust bath of Guineas has to be seen to be believed.

Do you have the patience?

You will need to learn a few new ways of doing things. Guineas require patience and are likley to fly of in a panic at the first sign of stress. If you are easily agitated then they are not the birds for you.

Do you have the space?

Guineas require a larger living space than chickens or ducks and much more space to roam. Mine like to roost in the rafters of a shed and they certainly would never use a small cheap chicken coop.

Do you have the time?

They are easier in some respects than other poultry but will still eat into your day.